Exposure Therapy is Harming Our Vets

0vetThis post is intentionally controversial. Rather, this post asserts my position firmly and you’re welcome to disagree with me.

A 2013 episode of 60 Minutes discussed treatments being used to treat trauma (PTSD) in veterans. I am disgusted at re-traumatization as a “cure.” If you were raped, would you want to relive rape until you were desensitized or would you rather an alternative that worked faster and involved none of that painful reliving?

Here’s what I know:

  1. There is no need to relive trauma or guilt in order to clear it.
  2. Trauma does not need to be remembered in order to be cleared.
  3. There are painless ways to get rid of the trauma and its effects.
  4. Effective Therapy works quickly, often in just a few sessions.
  5. There are many qualified therapists around the US and in the UK. Click here for a referral to a Rapid Resolution Therapist.
  6. Substance abuse is correlated with trauma at the rate of 70%.
  7. There is a cure for trauma, despite what the VA is telling our vets.

Save a life, refer a veteran for GOOD help. I want better for veterans, for society, for all of us. Veterans account for 22 suicides a day. Is it any wonder when this is the treatment they’re offered? It’s unconscionable.

These are my informed opinions; form your own opinion. Here is a link to the article at Psychology Today. And here is a video clip from the 60 Minutes show. These techniques are still being used – and now with Virtual Reality!

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Good Kids; Yes, Even Yours

0Bubble_Wrap_Your_Kid_Cover_for_KindleAvoid arguments with your child and encourage compliance by scaling the number of choices down by the age and stage of your child. For children under 10, 2 options will be sufficient. Lay out tomorrow’s clothes and ask, “Would you rather wear the brown pants or the green ones?” As your child ages, so do the decisions. “Would you rather have the Spiderman backpack or the Dora one?”

Set a pattern for narrowing things down to 2 choices and choosing between them. This helps to avoid arguments such as “I want them all” when he or she knows you will only allow a choice of 2, and then only 1 of those 2 items. You can counter with, “These are all great ideas for your friend’s birthday gift. Narrow it down to 2 and I can help you choose between them.” And then help him or her decide with a statement such as “Those are both great gifts for your friend’s birthday! Which one do you think he would like better?”

As your child becomes a preteen and a teenager and wants to do more things for him or herself, continue limiting choices in the pattern you have already set by saying things like, “You may attend the party. Would you rather have us pick you up or will you get a ride home?” And continue that narrowing process as you help him or her pick a college by asking if he or she would rather be in-state or out-of-state, in a cold climate or a warm climate, at a party school or a serious one, at a school where friends will be attending or on his or her own, in the dorms or in an apartment? This process is a lifelong skill to narrow options until a satisfactory choice is made.

Author and psychologist Wendy Mogel writes, “Creativity blossoms when it faces limits. A sonnet is fourteen lines, a haiku just three. When water is allowed to sprinkle it loses pressure, but when it is channeled through a hose the flow is more powerful.”

For more parenting tips like this pick up Bubble Wrap Your Kids by Autumn Hahn at Amazon.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Anxiety in Others

00micQuestion: How can I enjoy my visit with my friend, who is often plagued by anxiety so badly that he makes plans, but then can’t or won’t leave the house? On past trips, I’ve been so frustrated by his seeming ambivalence to go out with me that I’ve wanted to leave early. I’ve gotten angry and upset and it ruined my visit. I want to have a different experience this time, but don’t know if things will be any different on his part.

Answer: Reframe the situation. Your friend likely has social anxiety, generalized anxiety, or agoraphobia. All of these are treatable conditions. However, you simply want to work within his parameters while still enjoying his company and controlling the feelings within yourself.

Imagine your friend is the emcee of a play. His job is to announce the play, thank you for coming, do the introduction. He is on stage, holding a microphone, with a velvet curtain behind him, hiding the actors. You are sitting in the audience with the other theater goers. The theater lights come up and he says “Ladies and gentlemen, I’m very sorry, but there is a delay. Please bear with us.” There is a rumble in the crowd as people murmur to one another. He leaves the stage and comes back 5 minutes later stating the lights are having a problem and it will be about 10 more minutes before they are fixed, to please excuse the further delay. Another rumble and some groaning as people express their upset to one another. 10 minutes more and he reappears. He says, “the lighting problem is more complicated then we initially thought and it doesn’t look like we can solve it in just a few minutes. We will be happy to refund you or give you tickets to a later performance, if you will be a little patient as you leave, we’ll get everyone satisfied as you file out.”

People in the audience are visibly upset now. They are complaining about the wait and the inconvenience. They shout things like “just do the play, we can see,” and “who cares about the lighting,” and “the show must go on,” and “we got all dressed up for this.” The man on stage, your friend, looks off to the side where the director is shaking his head, though you can’t see him, and says “I’m sorry, but we have to cancel this performance. Everything must be just right.”

Your friend’s job is simply to introduce the play, and to stall when needed, but not to determine if the play will or will not be seen. The director, unseen, un-blamed, makes those decisions. If everything is not just so, the director says “stall” or “cancel”, not the emcee.

So it has been with your friend. He desires to be with you, to keep the plans you have made together, but the director, behind the curtain, is saying that it will not be possible at this time as things are not perfect, and must be made so before further action can take place.

Imagine, now, another ending to the same scene. Your friend has stalled the audience twice at the director’s insistence. He goes back out to tell the audience that the play is cancelled and refunds or later tickets are going to be issued immediately. The audience, this time, reacts with disappointment, but understanding. They still murmur to each other and are saying “that’s a bummer,” and “I was really looking forward to this, but I guess we can come back tomorrow night,” and “aw, man,” and “I get it; the lights play a part in the feel of the play.” How, now, does the emcee feel? Still torn, but not persecuted.

The answer, then, in how to work with someone who is responding to an unseen director, is to be a good audience member. Practice patience and empathy. And your friend, he’ll feel much better, too, which will cause him to rebound faster than if you were angry and upset with him. Remake plans and notice the change in yourself. You won’t feel like your visit is a loss as you won’t be so angry and upset. Reframe and regroup.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

The Worst Thing About Being a Therapist

0drownFor me, the worst thing about being a therapist is seeing people in pain who are not  yet willing or ready to make a change. This includes people who resonate with the following statements:

  • I don’t think change is possible.
  • I’ve had these symptoms so long, they must be permanent.
  • Therapy can only take me so far.
  • Therapy hasn’t fixed it before, so it can’t.
  • I am my diagnosis.
  • If I’m not sick/mentally ill/in pain, who am I?

These statements are all arguable because the right therapy, the right techniques and therapist for an individual can overcome all of that.

I love proving these statements false! I love when a client comes in who has tried several different types of therapy with a variety of therapists and then discovers me, we’re a good fit, and we work together to clear up the issue. They get better and they are both delighted and surprised. This is my favorite feeling.

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https://lasting-impact.tumblr.com/

And when I see people in pain, living with their symptoms, managing, getting by, doing what they have to, and still experiencing the symptoms, it breaks my heart. I came across the Lasting Impact Photo Campaign recently and it made me sad, not because there is a prevalence of sexual abuse, which is a thing we know, but because these persons have not overcome their trauma yet and are still experiencing the pain of that trauma. This is what breaks my heart. These persons are still victims, still living with, managing, trying, and hurting. I want to sit with them and say “There is a good fit for you. There is a right technique, right therapist, who you will connect with and overcome this. You can be rid of your symptoms forever. You can live again. You can be triumphant over that abuse that you suffered.”

Trauma is an inappropriately strong association is built between the activating stimulus and the body’s response. Good therapy breaks that association, permanently, without reliving the experience.

  • Every time I ____, I then ____.
  • Every time I sleep, I have nightmares.
  • Every time I go to that location, I have a panic attack.
  • Every time I see bearded men, I get nauseous.
  • Every time it thunders, I cower.

Are you ready to explore what change could look like in your life? Are you ready to get closer to change? Are you ready for change? Let’s talk. Call me at 954-612-9553.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Communicating with Infants

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My Mom always treated children like tiny people, because they are. With your infant, when in doubt, do the following, according to my Mom.

My Mom loves babies, both my parents do. Mom always said, babies can’t talk, but they want to, so they cry. And when they cry, do the following, in this order:

  1. Pick them up.
  2. Alter their view (laying/sitting, direction).
  3. Offer them attention.
  4. Offer them food.
  5. Change their diaper.
  6. Take all their clothes off.
  7. Submerge them in water.

I always thought it was a bit of a strange list until I asked one day and she explained.

Pick them up because maybe their clothes are folded under them in an uncomfortable way, or their sock is crooked. Think of the hundreds of tiny adjustments you make to your hair, your clothes, your glasses every day. Babies are incapable of brushing a stray hair from their forehead that is annoying them.

Alter their view from sitting to laying down, from laying down to sitting, from sitting to standing. Face them a different direction. Maybe the sun is in their eyes or they’re getting hot, or they just want to fidget. Adults do this all the time through greater motor control by tapping a foot or twirling a pencil.

Offer them attention because they’re bored or anxious or curious about what you’re saying or doing and want to participate. Allow them to participate, at least through proximity. Offer some mental stimulation and a smile, even if you don’t feel like it.

Offer them food because maybe that cry means “I could go for a snack right now.”

Change their diaper, and this should be an obvious reason. Even if a diaper was not soiled, Mom never skipped this step because “if the thigh is creased from the diaper or the genitals are folded in an uncomfortable position, wouldn’t you want that fixed right away, and not just when there was a mess?” If you’re thinking of the expense (and cost the the environment) of throwing away “perfectly good” disposable diapers, Mom never used them, and with my son, I rarely used them. You can absolutely reuse cloth diapers that are not soiled. [I won’t get on any soap box about cloth diapers, but they’re a great idea, not only for the environment, but also you’ll change the baby more often and there is less rash and other problems as a result.]

Take all their clothes off because something may be pinching, twisted, or in some way uncomfortable. Or maybe they’re hot or sweaty. Or maybe they’ll just enjoy the breeze. My parents were naturalists, and I am almost surprised this didn’t come higher on the list. It does have to feel strange for babies, used to the nude floating in the womb to come into contact with so many textures so close to their skin.

Submerge them in water because it’s what they know and it’s good for each of us to connect with the elements. This can be a quick sink-bath or a dip in the ocean, but she said a person in water was a content person. After all, why do so many vacations take place on a beach?

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Awkwardness and Social Phobia

0bigstock-Cow-And-Gate--5928923People with social phobia or social anxiety often worry that they are awkward or don’t fit it with everyone else. However, almost everyone has that worry to some degree. And, we are all awkward at times.

A few weeks ago, I got my hair cut at the same salon I’ve been utilizing for several years. I was in the waiting area, as my stylist was finishing up the appointment before me. A woman I do not know who works there came over as I was absorbed in my thoughts and called my name. I looked up and said, quite loudly, “yes” as I stood up. But it was more like “YES!” in the semi-busy salon. I was clearly heard over all the other conversations and was mildly embarrassed by my volume.

But what could I do? Apologize for being too loud ever-so-briefly? Explain that I was thinking and had to snap back to reality? Blow it off and figure everyone makes mistakes?

The woman looked shocked, but only momentarily. She said “Come on back to get washed.” I followed her back to the sinks and she made small talk, which I returned in my normal voice. I blew it off. No big deal. No need to make a thing when there isn’t any.

With social phobia or social anxiety, people often think they need to have contingency plans for their contingency plans. Blow that off. Skip that extra work. Live in this moment. That moment is already over.

As for me, if that was the story they told one another at the salon at closing time and had a good laugh, then have a good laugh on me. The world needs more laughter and stories.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on TwitterFacebook, and Google+. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Get Better Today

0autumn
That’s me in a session, at my old office.

A little background: At this point, I’ve been specializing in clearing trauma for over a decade. I studied psychology for my entire 7-year college education. Point is: I’ve been at this awhile and am trained in making people well; but, I’m also trained in making people well, whole, happy, and doing it FAST!

I’m a Certified Practitioner in Rapid Resolution Treatment (RRT), which means that I have the ability to brush up my skills every few weeks, am always learning new techniques, and twice a year I attend an intensive training to get even more polished. RRT allows me to have a client talk about horribly painful events with no tears, no retraumatization, and be talking, laughing, and healing all the while. In a single visit, you feel better. Not just a little better like “oh, now that I talked about it, I kinda feel better”; that’s crap. Better like “I feel like all my problems are solvable and I can go live my happy life.” That’s the goal, and it’s easy – and it’s fun!

0Tissues1 (1)Let me get on an ego trip for a second and tell you that seeing a client’s problems resolved in a session or two is good for me. What used to take 6-9 months of weekly visits, or pouring through pain, of talking about it until it doesn’t hurt anymore, is done in about 5 hours, about 3 visits. Sometimes even less. And that’s just the trauma part. RRT is great for grief over a death or ended relationship, for anxiety and panic attack, depression, weight loss, changing bad habits, addiction, motivation, self-esteem, and nearly anything you come in with. And if it’s that good for me, imagine how good that is for you! You come less often, feel better faster, and we bankrupt the tissue industry that traditional therapy has been supporting.

0Koolaid man Oh yeahI hear you thinking, “oh, but surely you’re blowing this out of proportion. People don’t get ‘cured’ by this, do they? They don’t stay well?” Oh, yeah, Kool Aid!Lasting results from a visit or two. People are getting better through RRT and staying well. They’re coming back and saying “you know, I have this friend…” and referring people they love. That’s my hope for the future, that everyone will feel good, be well, and if they know someone who needs to get better, they’ll say “you know what worked for me? It’s good. Come get some!” And we’ll all be talking and laughing together. Isn’t that the whole point of this crazy life, anyhow?

For further proof, check out a testimonial of mine that was featured at Institute for Survivors of Sexual Violence.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Depression: Common NOT Normal

0i-has-a-sad

Q. What causes clinical depression?
A. Chemical imbalance.

Surprised by the simplicity of the answer? Were you expecting a list of things like: death of a loved one, change of circumstances, lack of resources, inability to participate in previously enjoyable activities, illness, and so forth? Certainly, a feeling of sadness or (more severely) depression could be common after any of those items, but would it be necessary? No. You could be ill but not sad. You could even have terminal illness and not be sad. Perhaps it changes your entire outlook on living and you relish each hour, doing new and profoundly significant things you’d never attempted before. The perception that sadness and depression, are caused by these events are just plain wrong. Is it common for people to feel sad in the face of that stuff? Yes. But is is normal? No. Depression is not normal, especially clinical depression, or diagnosable depression. However, according to the Mental Health Association, 43% of people think depression is normal. They’re wrong. Let’s educate those 43% to the truth.

If you get nothing else out of this, understand that: While a clinical-grade depression after a precipitating event can be considered common, it is not ever considered normal.

Okay, so now everyone who’s depressed is abnormal? No, of course not. But the depression itself, as a severe reaction (severe enough to be considered diagnosable, to be more than “sad”), is abnormal, yes.

Depression is caused by chemical imbalance. When a person reacts to stressors, there is an increase in cortical fluid. This increase effects the entire body. It can cause an increase in cholesterol, an increase in heart rate and respiration, an increase in blood pressure, a thickening of the blood, and so forth in persons with medical conditions or medical predispositions. This is your perfectly normal person, now with possibly blood pressure and cholesterol issues, and a general crummy feeling from the cortisone, just because of stress. This is why managing daily stress is important. The brain is a part of the body and as such needs to be treated appropriately and medically at times.

What happens in the body of a person with medical conditions?

  • A person who has a heart attack and is given a good prognosis and sent home will be 3-4% more likely to die in 6 months if they also have clinical depression.
  • A person who has a stroke can have personality changes if they also have depression at the time of the stroke.
  • A stroke victim who also has depression generally takes 10 extra months in rehabilitation (closer to a year, than the non-depressed person who takes an average of 2 months to rehabilitate).
  • Some medications, like cancer medications can cause the kind of cortical imbalance that leads to depression. Extra caution must be taken with these patients.
  • Similarly, diabetes causes changes in the body that can cause clinical depression, and vice versa. Depressed people are more likely to develop the lifelong diagnosis of diabetes, and all the lifestyle changes that come with it.
  • Dementia may be over-diagnosed in the elderly because there is a such thing as delusional depression, and it may be under-diagnosed as a result of dementia diagnoses.
  • People with Parkinson’s Disorder are more likely to have increased problems with movement and decreased concentration or ability to make decisions if they also have clinical depression.
  • People with clinical depression are more likely to have comorbid back ache and gastrointestinal problems, which may or may not be psychosomatic.
  • Fibromyalgia shares the same symptoms and treatments as clinical depression.

Q. Okay, so what can I do with this information?
A. Manage your daily stress in ways that keep your cortical levels…level.

  • Exercise daily; even a 10-minute walk helps.
  • Do something fun; again, 10 minutes of a puzzle book or reading or talking to a friend on the phone or petting an animal.
  • Eat well with lots of fresh foods like veggies and fruits and limit the junky stuff.
  • Sleep properly on a steady routine.
  • Work toward goals; even little stuff like learning something new or finishing up a project. Looking forward has tremendous effects whereas looking behind you generally is detrimental.
  • Connect with something beyond yourself, whether that’s spirituality, religion, or community involvement through volunteer work.
  • Seek help. If you need help getting/staying on track, I can do that. If you need help reaching out, I’m happy to do that with you, hooking you up with volunteer organizations, and so forth. If you want to correct any sadness that you’re having, we can get that done, too; quickly and painlessly!
  • If you see someone who seems to have some sadness or depressive symptoms, refer them for help and a good daily regiment to keep their cortical levels in tact. You may just be saving a life.

Which of these tips did you find most practical for you life?

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

Qualifications Explained

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The world of psychological credentials is confusing to laypersons. Here is your handy guide:

LCSW
A licensed clinical social worker has at least a master’s degree and has passed the state or national exam. There is a minimum amount of continuing education to be done each year to maintain good standing with the state, who oversees this license.

LMHC
A licensed mental health counselor has at least a master’s degree and has passed the state or national exam. There is a minimum amount of continuing education to be done each year to maintain good standing with the state, who oversees this license. The benefit of seeing an LMHC over an LCSW is that the LMHC can see an individual, that individual’s spouse, and/or family and be within our code of ethics. An LCSW is not allowed to see individuals who are also patients as a couple or a family due to their code of ethics.

MHC-RI or CSW-RI
The “RI” refers to the person being a registered intern for one of the professions (Mental Health Counseling or Clinical Social Work). The state is aware that the practitioner is learning and is under supervision for a period of time and then can apply for licensure after that time is completed successfully. Registered interns are not allowed to be in private practice on their own, but they are allowed to have their own caseloads of clients, even seeing clients individually. They can work at a private practice, or for an agency.

LPC
A licensed professional counselor is a psychotherapist who may have a social work degree or a mental health counseling degree. These persons have passed a national exam. This designation is used in certain states, not including Florida.

NCC
A nationally certified counselor is a psychotherapist who may have a social work degree or a mental health counseling degree. This designation is used nationally. I am not sure if the practitioner also needs a state license or not.

Psychiatrist
A psychiatrist has a medical degree and a doctorate. They are able to prescribe medications like any other medical doctor. Most psychiatrists spend about 15 minutes with a patient to check for medication side-effects or assess for increasing or decreasing dosages. Typically, they do not give therapy. Psychiatrists must maintain a state license, just like a doctor.

Psychologist
A psychologist has a doctorate degree but does not prescribe medication and has very little, if any, medical training. Many psychologists have a PsyD instead of a PhD, which means they have a clinical specialty. This is often a more appropriate specialty for providing counseling. Psychologists must maintain a state license, just like a doctor.

Life Coach
A life coach is NOT a therapist. Coaches legally cannot provide therapy. Many therapists also provide coaching as an addendum to their services, generally in a specialty area like career coaching, relationship coaching, etc. Life coaches have to take a training course to become certified, but they are not required to have any education in counseling, nor is being certified essential. There is little oversight into coaching, so be cautious if you choose to use one by looking into their credentials and specialty expertise.

CHt
A certified hypnotherapist (or certified clinical hypnotherapist) has a minimum amount of training in the specialty of clinical hypnosis to become initially certified, and an amount of training each year to maintain certification. There are many types of hypnotherapy and you should ask about their given specialty to see how this will fit for you. The board that oversees hypnotherapists is national, not a state agency.

Hypnotist
A hypnotist can be anyone trained in either clinical or stage hypnosis. A hypnotist does not need any counseling training and is not a therapist. Hypnotists are allowed to work with “minor” issues like weight loss, quitting smoking, motivation, and things you might go to a clinic to do without working through any underlying issues. A hypnotist is not allowed to give therapy. Be cautious by asking about their training and what sort of issues they cover. Too broad a scope is a warning sign that they may be practicing outside of their scope of work. The state does not oversee this specialty, so be careful.

CP
A certified practitioner (or master certified practitioner) has at least 50 hours of training per year in Rapid Resolution Therapy® (RRT) and may or may not be a licensed clinician. Again, one can be a hypnotist and a CP. Do check what other licenses the practitioner holds before you book an appointment.

I am a licensed mental health counselor, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and a certified practitioner in RRT.
Autumn Hahn, LMHC, CHt, CP

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.

SPD in Adults

Am I Normal?I was never diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) as a child. Although Sensory Integration Dysfunction (it’s predecessor) was coined in 1972, I didn’t learn about it until 2013, while having dinner with two colleagues who work with children. Upon hearing about the symptoms, I identified with many of them, asked my colleagues many questions, and took a quiz to self-diagnose. Fascinating stuff. It explained many things about my childhood and adult life.

You can watch a video on what SPD is by clicking HERE.

Of the 4 types of SPD, I show symptoms of only one. Others may have symptoms from another cluster, or many, or all of the clusters. The 4 subsets are: Sensory modulation disorder, Sensory discrimination disorder, Postural ocular disorder, and Dyspraxia.

Sensory modulation disorder: I have the kind that causes an over-reaction (as opposed to an under-reaction) to stimuli. I hated having my hair brushed as a child, but am happy to brush my own hair. It would have been best to have taught me to take control of that behavior as soon as possible as I can control the pressure. I am sensitive to textures and only wear certain kinds of fabric (linen, cotton, rayon, silk), and am bothered by tags or seams inside my clothes. I am sensitive to light and sound: I experience loud sounds as pain and cannot tolerate bright lights. As an adult, of course, I brush my own hair, buy my own clothes, and can generally adjust the lighting and sounds in my home. However, I cannot control the volume of the outside world and do avoid certain situations (hockey playoffs, concerts). I can excuse myself from certain situations, like when the sound quality is poor on a training video, but not others, like being in a florescent-lit room in the workplace. I have learned to tolerate these experiences, probably by being repeatedly exposed to them throughout my life, and understanding that I need to make concessions to live in the world with others.

SPD is often linked to certain populations and disorders: autism spectrum disorder (ASD), premature babies (throughout their lives, not just during infancy), schizophrenia (perhaps as a constant annoyance that is intolerable, perhaps as a dysfunction of the vestibular system which may be linked to temporal disturbance), and anxiety (correlated to the vestibular system making the person hyper-alert). But think, also, of how other disorders may be impacted, such as PTSD or depression. Or what is it like for a toddler who is diagnosed with ASD, who is constantly lacking control of the temperature of their bathwater and unable to communicate that desire? Could it be that the toddler is having a tantrum at bath time each day because that is their only way of communicating the desire to change the water temperature and they are misdiagnosed?

SPD needs to be taught in the broader learning environment. In graduate school, we should be talking about SPD as a differential diagnosis, potentially ruling out certain clusters of symptoms. Therapists, psychiatrists, psychologists, and occupational therapists need to be working together to teach children, and adults, to tolerate and work around the symptoms of SPD to have the most functional life possible.

Autumn Hahn is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist practicing at Clear Mind Group in Weston, Florida. Call 954-612-9553 for a consultation. Follow Autumn on Facebook and Twitter. Sign up for the e-newsletter HERE.